It’s fall time! That means the Ooks are in full swing, with hockey, soccer, volleyball and golf all in action. Here’s how the blue and gold fared this weekend.
The women’s team kicked off a three-game road trip starting with Minot State on Friday. The Ooks battled hard against the Beavers, deadlocked at two a piece by the end of 40 minutes. But despite an intense third period from NAIT, the blue and gold would drop the game 4-3 to the Beavers.
On Saturday, the Ooks travelled to Fremont, Nebraska, to play the Midland University Warriors. NAIT led the Warriors in the shot category 11-5 by the end of the first but trailed 1-0. Although the Ooks dominated the game with shots on goal, they would fall to the Warriors 3-2.
After two tough one-goal losses, NAIT ended their road trip north of the border against the University of Regina. The Ooks got off to a slow start. They trailed 2-1 at the end of the second and only mustered 11 shots compared to the Cougars 21. The University of Regina’s momentum through the first two periods carried into the third as the Cougars added a pair of goals to cruise home with a 4-2 victory over NAIT.
On the men’s side, NAIT travelled to the University of British Columbia to play the Thunderbirds on Saturday. The Ooks couldn’t keep up, and the Thunderbirds soared to a 10-1 win over the blue and gold.
Things didn’t improve for the Ooks as they played the Thunderbirds again on Sunday, losing 4-2.
NAIT will be back in action on September 30 to play the SAIT Trojans while the women prepare for their regular season, starting October 6 in Calgary against the Trojans.
The Ooks women’s team battled the Keyano College Huskies on Saturday, as NAIT entered the match 2-0-0. NAIT started the game with four shots on goal, compared to the Huskies three, but the Ooks struggled to replicate that success in the second half, only recording one shot on goal as the two squads drew a score of 0-0.
On Sunday, NAIT was back at it against Keyano, and the Huskies got on the board quickly to lead the Ooks 2-0 at the end of the first half. In the final 45 minutes, the Huskies piled on the goals. The Ooks found the back of the net once, but Keyano commanded the game and beat NAIT 5-1.
In a postgame interview, first-year Head Coach Dhee Govender stated he is still confident in the team’s state despite the loss on Sunday. “We’re a very young up-and-coming program,” Govender said. “But I don’t think the scores are a reflection of how we performed today.”
NAIT’s men’s team entered Saturday’s match against Keyano undefeated. The game was deadlocked until the Ooks proved their record and struck at 42 minutes to take a 1-0 lead over the Huskies. They didn’t stop there, adding 2 more goals to cap off a 3-0 victory over Keyano College.
After the women suffered a crushing loss on Sunday, the men’s team had a shot at redemption against Keyano. However, the Huskies got out to an early lead after capitalizing on a free kick four minutes into the game. Keyano then scored late in the second half to defeat the Ooks 2-0.
Head Coach Jeff Paulus said in a postgame interview he believes the difference in the two games was Keyano’s defence limiting the Ook’s scoring chances on Sunday. “I think the difference in yesterday to today is I thought their team [Keyano] defensively was stronger … They did a good job keeping us out of the dangerous areas.”
As the men’s and women’s team’s face the Kings University Eagles on September 30 and the Portage Voyageurs at home on October 1, Paulus said the men’s team will be looking to build off the positives they displayed this weekend despite the loss.
“We did enough to win this game today … But no, you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You just have to now look at things we did well and just keep working on that.”
The men’s volleyball team continued their preseason this weekend after a decisive 5-0 win against the Concordia Thunder on September 17.
NAIT started the tournament with a 3-1 win over the University of Guelph before suffering a 3-2 loss to Providence University College on Friday. With a 1-1 record, the blue and gold swept the remaining two games, defeating the University of Calgary and SAIT by a score of 3-0 and 3-1.
Next up, the Ooks hit the road to continue their preseason by playing Briercrest College, Keyano College and The Kings University on September 29 and 30.
NAIT qualified for nationals after the men’s team took home bronze in the ACAC Championship tournament. The men finished the weekend with a +85 Total to Par Gross (TPG), edging out fourth-place Medicine Hat College’s +86 TPG to punch their ticket to Quebec for the three-day CCAA National Championship Tournament starting October 17.
Michaella Kibblewhite shot a +60 TPG to qualify for the CCAA National Championship along with five other ACAC women golfers, who will represent the conference in their pursuit for a national title.
Cover photo via NAIT Athletics